According to the seventh edition of the Global Terrorism Index (GTI), most regions around the world recorded a higher average impact of terrorism in 2019 as compared to 2018. But this year, only the United Nations knew from the beginning that it is not the terrorist attacks we need to be afraid of; rather our common enemy is a virus. It turned our world upside down and reminded us about building a strong focus on global challenges we could face. For the UN, the need of the hour is contribution and cooperation across nations and generations; each one counts.

International Day of Peace or Peace Day is observed each year on 21st September and this year’s theme is ‘Shaping Peace together’. The UN also marks its 75th anniversary and has invited people to take a one-minute survey on global issues and challenges. Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General, dictated that all warring parties and nations should focus on defeating this pandemic. The way Coronavirus spread from one country to another; in no time it became the worst public health crisis humanity had ever faced. Every individual is eyeing on the UN’s initiatives that will bring the world closer together to win over this unprecedented pandemic.

Highlights of the UN75 Dialogue and Beyond

International Day of Peace 1

The start of the year 2020 was the right time to launch a new initiative called UN75 Dialogue. It sparked conversations across nations on various crucial aspects of world peace. Antonio Guterres visualised meaningful ideas that will be an outcome of such global conversations.

People across different settings - corporations, schools, parliaments and even villages, participated in the UN75 Dialogues initiative. In the light of Coronavirus, the UN collected more than 330 dialogues held between January to March this year.

The United Nations wants people to take part in it. But why?

During crucial times, people voice themselves out on social media platforms. They ask for some urgent help or simply put forward their opinions via tweets or Facebook posts. The United Nations feels that such opinions could be effective solutions to global challenges. Hence, it wants people’s voices to be heard during hard times.

The UN75 conversations are a collection of public ideas, views, and opinions and each of these dialogues may trigger a local action to resolve particular issues. Here are some of the common world issues that have grown at an unstoppable rate:

  1. A new era of conflict and violence
  2. Inequality
  3. Climate Change
  4. Shifting Demographics
  5. Women and Girls - Closing the gender gap

You too can take part in the survey and register your dialogue by clicking here. Send your key points via the online form and you can also upload audio recordings. Or try posting them online using hashtags #UN75, #PeaceDay and tagging @JoinUn75. Do read through the toolkit and other links to understand how to get your conversation started. If selected, the UN will present your opinions to world leaders and also publish them on social media platforms. October onward, the chosen dialogues will then shift ahead into the planning and implementation of the action items. 

So, how do you frame questions that spark a conversation?

We may not be able to gather together publicly and hold discussions in this era of social distancing. But the UN and world leaders encourage us to participate from home and support the World Peace Day.

To join UN75, you can choose from social media campaigns to formal events and policy discussions. Dialogues can also be directly related to the International Day of Peace. Consider taking help from these questions provided by the UN to create a conversation:

  1. What is a peaceful world according to you and how can the UN support you to meet peace goals?
  2. What should be prioritised to build back better after the Covid-19 pandemic?
  3. What kind of a future do we wish to create for our children and grandchildren?
  4. Do you think the environment will be more or less healthy 25 years from now?
  5. Which of the five areas listed above have a significant impact on the progress towards the future you would like to have?
  6. What actions should we take now to make a better world for future generations?

Japanese Bell: World Peace Symbol

International Day of Peace 2

International Peace Day is inaugurated by ringing the Peace Bell located at the headquarters. It is a symbol of peace and was gifted by the Japanese on June 8, 1954. On one side of the bell, the inscription reads, ‘long live absolute world peace’, and reminds of the human cost of war. Cast by Chiyoji Nakagawa, it symbolises the desire of people around the world to attain peace and universality of the UN. The bell is tolled on a few other occasions such as Earth Day and the yearly UN General Assembly sessions.

UN’s Vision for the Year 2045

The objective of observing International Days is to educate millions of people on varying issues and address global concerns. Not to forget, they are also about celebrating what humanity has achieved over the years. Just like the International Day of Peace, the United Nations embraces every occasion as a powerful tool for gathering public support and awareness-raising actions. The need for the hour is a collective action and the UN took an initiative to bring the world closer and ask them to focus together on how we can recover from the pandemic. The year 2045 will be a pivotal moment in history and would mark the UN’s 100th birthday. Will humanity be able to realise a better and healthier world by then? To answer this question, we need to be ready to face and win upcoming global challenges.

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